For California wine lovers, one of the most enjoyable experiences is the chance to sip while overlooking spectacular scenery—from hillside vineyards and snow-capped mountains to redwood forests and rugged beaches. With the National Park Service hosting Centennial events this year, it’s a great time to pair park scenery with a nearby wine country experience.
Many travelers to California’s 27 national parks pass through or near wine regions. To help these visitors with their journey, Wine Institute has put together a list of great wine regions near national parks. With 138 AVA’s (American Viticultural Areas) and 100-plus winegrape varieties across the Golden State, wine consumers can find their favorite wines and discover new ones on their way to great parks from Yosemite in the High Sierra to Joshua Tree in the desert. Like the stewards of California’s national parks, winemakers and growers also feel a deep connection to the land, making California a world leader in sustainable winegrowing, providing an outdoor experience that eco-travelers can appreciate.
Redwood National and State Parks and Mendocino County Wine Country
If going in June, visit the Mendocino County wine region on the way to or from Redwood National and State Parks, home to the world’s tallest trees. The parks are hosting the Centennial Festival (June 26), featuring talks and activities celebrating the parks’ heritage and contribution to the region. The parks border Mendocino’s wine region, which has a high percentage of vineyards farmed with sustainable, organic or biodynamic practices. The region produces a wide variety of wines, including Pinot Noir and Alsatian varietals. After wine tasting, enjoy an overnight stay in the picturesque Mendocino village, listed on the National Register of Historic Places. A great time to visit is during the Anderson Valley/Yorkville Highlands Barrel Tasting Weekend (July 23-24), where visitors have unprecedented access to winery cellars, including tastings of yet-to-be-released wines and the chance to purchase futures of barrel tastings at a discount.
Yosemite and Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Parks and Madera County/Fresno
Rock-climbing mecca Yosemite National Park is world renowned for its soaring granite walls and cascading waterfalls. The park will host special events for the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service (Aug. 25) with educational talks and recreational activities, such as a “Yosemite Anniversaries” symphony performance. Madera County vineyards are on the way to Yosemite. Visit the Madera Wine Trail, featuring local wineries serving their acclaimed dessert, port-style and late-harvest wines, among others. The region’s Wine Trail Weekend (Nov. 12-13) will kick off the holiday season for wine lovers. Those going to Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Parks can visit Fresno State Winery, the first university in the U.S. to have a fully licensed winery. Taste or buy the wine at Fresno State Gibson Farmers Market where offerings are all harvested, created and grown by Fresno State students, or check out Grape Stomping Good Times (Aug. 27).
Joshua Tree National Park and Temecula Wine Country
This desert park has beautiful Joshua trees and a variety of plants and animals in this land shaped by strong winds, rains and climatic extremes. Adding to the attraction of this place are dark night skies for astronomy buffs and surreal geologic features. A visit to Joshua Tree could include a tour of Temecula wine country, about 2.5 hours southwest. Tempered by coastal fog, this region is known for its Italian and Rhône varieties. A great way to sample wines is with the Sip Temecula Wine Tasting Passport during weekdays where guests can choose experiences at five of 17 participating wineries.
About Wine Institute
Visit Discover California Wines for information on wine regions, wines and wineries throughout California. The Golden State is first in the U.S. for wine and food tourism with dozens of distinct wine regions, 138 American Viticultural Areas and 4,400 wineries that produce 85 percent of U.S. wine. Established in 1934, Wine Institute is the public policy association of nearly 1,000 California wineries.
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